This lesson plan addresses rather sensitive issues connected with people’s insecurities about their looks.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. ― Plato.

Topic introduction: The topic addresses rather sensitive issues connected with insecurities people might have about their looks. Play the following song and ask students what this ‘all about this bass’ is about.

Get feedback and go to Step 1 to explore the “bass”:)

1. Write the following idioms on the blackboard and ask students to come up with one word that fits both idioms:

Beauty is only ____________ deep.

Being comfortable in one’s own ____________ .

Ask students to explain how they understand the meaning of these idioms.

2. Beauty is only skin deep. Ask students whether they agree with the idiom. Can they define beauty? Hand out the article about the photoshop Before and After experiment held by Esther Honig to prove that the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Ask students to read it and then look at the photos and choose the most ‘likeable’ face. Encourage students to give particular examples of the features considered beautiful in their culture.


3. Information gap fill. Hand out two random cards to each student – a card with the full description of a beauty standard and a card with gaps to fill in. Tell you students that they’ve got descriptions of beauty standards in different countries. Ask them to find a person who has the full description of the beauty standards they have and fill in the gaps with respective information. Ask students to avoid reading from the cards while filling in the gaps and ask questions instead.

A LONG NECK Women of the Kayan tribe in Thailand start wearing brass rings around their necks when they’re just five years old, adding more rings as they grow older to elongate their necks. A super-long neck is considered beautiful and elegant in this region and women can wear over 20 pounds of rings as adults.
BODY SCARS In Ethiopia’s Karo tribe, women’s scars are considered both attractive and super-sexy. The practice of self-scarring is a form of adornment cherished by the people of this culture.
SURGERY BANDAGES Believe it or not, Iran is the rhinoplasty capital of the world (the more you know…). Nose jobs are so common—and so much of a status symbol—that women will often wear their post-surgical bandageslonger than needed or even create fake bandages to wear without actually having the surgery.
SUPER-SIZED BODS Mauritanian women are lauded for gaining weight, to the point that young girls have been sent by their parents to camps where they are forced to eat 15,000 calories a day in an effort to “fatten them up.” Being bigger makes women here more desirable as wives, as a larger wife is seen as a status symbol for her husband.
LONG EARLOBES Stretched earlobes are a beauty ideal among the Masai of Kenya, where women piece and elongate their lobes using stones and pieces of elephant tusk.
STRETCHED LIPS The Mursi Women of Southern Ethopia insert clay plates into their lower lips to stretch them out, increasing the size of a plate incrementally to make their pouts ginormous. This ritual is a symbol of both sexual maturity and beauty.
FACE TATTOOS In New Zealand, the Maori people consider women with tattooed lips and chins to be the most beautiful. Kat von D would love it: The more tattoos, the more desirable a woman is.
BOUND “LOTUS” FEET Although foot-binding is no longer a popular practice, it was once an important beauty standard in China that symbolized wealth, status and eligibility for marriage. The first foot binding happened in the 10th century and by the mid-17th century, girls that wanted to be married often had to go through the painful process. Those who were too poor or needed their natural feet to work were not able to have their feet bound and were usually of low status in society.Girls would begin the process at very young ages to get the smallest foot size possible. The girls’ toes were bent towards the heel and underneath the sole. The bones would break and the foot would be bound with long ribbons. The shape resembled the lotus flower and was considered very beautiful. The bound feet made it very difficult for women to walk and could be a very dangerous process.


Handout 1

Handout 2

4. Get feedback.

*5. Ask students to think about the answer to the question “If you could change one thing about your body, what would you change?” Ask them to keep their answer secret.

*6. Now pair students and ask them to look at their partners and think about 3 things about their bodies/faces they admire in their partners most. Ask them to tell their partner about them (Extension activity: Complimenting).

*7. Get feedback. Ask whether somebody mentioned the part they’d like to change.

8. Show the first part of the video (1.49). Ask students to jot down the parts of the body the respondents would like to change about them and whether they see a good reason for these people to change a certain body part/facial feature.

9. Get feedback.

10. Tell students they will watch the other part of the video with kids and seniors. Ask them to predict three things that kids or seniors would like to change.

11. Show the other part of the video. Get feedback, ask students whether they managed to come up with the right guess.

12. Classroom discussion. Discuss the following questions with your students:

– Why does the perception of kids and seniors differ so much from the perception of adults?

– What or who may make people feel uncomfortable in their own skin?

13. Split students into small teams and ask them to prepare a 2-minute presentation of their “sure-fire way”  to cope with insecurities about looks.

14. Students make presentations and make a list of their TOP THREE ways to be happy in one’s own skin.


Home assignment: Ask students to watch Dove Beauty Sketch and write an essay Beauty Lies in the Eyes of the Beholder. 


*Optional ‘handle with care’ activity


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